Joan Oates Institute

2023 Summer Course

Monday, June 26 - Friday, June 30, 2023

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

This five-day course will be held in-person at the University of Richmond. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are provided each day.

It's just good teaching

The Joan Oates Institute (JOI) trains PK-12 educators and community experts to engage and empower all students through creative and experiential methods, reflection, and collaboration.

Participants will experience hands-on workshops that integrate community and culture into your instructional practice through the arts and technology.

Who should attend?

PK-12 Educators

Current teachers, administrators, specialists, coordinators, and coaches can register for the course for graduate credit at our discounted PD rate, or as non-credit professional learning. Current degree-seeking students may enroll as an elective.

Community Artists and Experts

Individual teaching artists, arts and cultural staff, informal educators, community professionals, and subject matter experts should register for Professional Learning. Please inquire if you are interested in graduate credit or pursuing a degree.

Transformative Professional Development

This institute will transform how you teach. Educators will learn from and with regional and national-level artists and experts this summer, with time built in to each day for collaborative planning best practices.

The driving question of our training is, “How do we learn?” This informs the thinking tools we provide so that you can connect curricular content to real-world experiences for students, practicing place-based education and supporting social emotional learning.

Powerful Outcomes

You will discover a teaching and learning model designed to engage your students in deep and culturally responsive learning, both inside and outside of the school setting. View the modules in the drop down menus below for descriptions of each workshop and instructor.

In this course, you will learn how to:

  • engage and empower students by connecting their backgrounds and interests to community expertise and resources
  • integrate diverse cultures to help students contextualize curriculum in the real world
  • explore big ideas through lenses of multiple disciplines in an interactive, hands-on setting
  • provide a range of creative mediums to assess comprehension in authentic and innovative ways
  • develop interdisciplinary lessons and unit plans to use in your teaching
The course may be taken for up to 50 hours of professional development, or as a graduate credit course eligible for tuition reimbursement by many school divisions.

Course Details

Expand All
  • Objectives
    • Understand the philosophy, techniques, and impacts of a multimodal, interdisciplinary approach to teaching
    • Practice inquiry-based educational methods that incorporate arts, technology, culture, and community, and examine how they influence academic and social-emotional outcomes
    • Learn how to view and apply the arts to curricular instruction and assessment with students
  • Outcomes

    Participants will create an educational plan to integrate the arts into their local school curriculum, learn about arts integration resources, and join a network of professional colleagues interested in integrating creativity and sparking curiosity in classrooms. The innovative lessons and unit plans developed in this course can become the basis of a grant proposal, PBL, or IB project.

  • 2022 Modules (updates for 2023 coming soon)

    Below are the modules from 2022, which was held in a hybrid format across three weeks with the sound-based theme "Listening to our Communities." Updated instructors and workshop details for 2023, which is one week long and fully in-person, will be posted soon.

    Week 1: In Person

    • Defining Arts Integration: Partners in the Arts will share how to build a learning community based on equity, trust, and candor. Educators will access the framework for integrated instruction and assessment tools to begin a unit plan. 
    • Learning with ArcGIS StoryMaps: Educators will use this data visualization tool for direct instruction, virtual field trips, independent learning, and e-portfolios.
    • Interviewing our Communities: Former National Geographic editor and reporter Don Belt shares his  “Slow Journalism" curriculum, and will guide participants through interviewing processes that improve active listening skills and build deep connections.
    • Experiencing Sound in Nature: Open Space Education combines art with nature-based learning. Educators will learn to cultivate adaptability, resilience, and creativity in students while connecting them to the outdoors.
    • Exploring the Science of Sound: PBS Learning Media and UR Physics faculty reveal how waves work and how we can observe, capture and create the sounds around us.

    Week 2: Self-Paced Online

    • Observing with Sketchbooks: Illustrator Aijung Kim demonstrates how the process of sketching sharpens observation skills. Drawing and writing in zines deepens the connections students make between their learning and their personal journey story.
    • Using Culturally Situated Design Tools: Culture and STEM collide by studying “heritage algorithms” in everything from Native beadwork to urban graffiti. Participants will make math and computer science connections that can combat racial and gender misconceptions.
    • Teaching New American History: Look at an innovative way to teach American history with free tools and resources available to all educators. Educators will uncover new ways to teach the past in light of the present.
    • Mapping AudibleRVA: Ethnomusicologist Dr. Andy McGraw shares how sound data can be used to tell the story of the policies and people in our communities.

    Week 3: In Person

    • Harnessing Spoken Word: Richmond’s first poet laureate, Roscoe Burnems, will lead experimentation with the different ways slam poetry can engage, empower, and amplify student voice.
    • Integrating Student Culture through Rap: MC, radio host, and educator BlackLiq will guide an exploration of how to create student- and community-relevant rhymes. Participants will have the opportunity to release some tension, and incorporate multiple content areas.
    • Making Beats on Earsketch: CodeVA’s Thomas Brownell (DJTommy2600) showcases how students can learn coding through an open source sound and music creation app. Educators will heighten observation and active listening skills, and practice telling authentic community stories using sound artifacts and lyrics from all module sections.